Bronson Settles Will Dispute

After fan's death wish gives him everything, actor settles with angry sister

By Daniel Frankel Apr 06, 1999 9:15 PMTags
Charles Bronson has settled a dispute over a fan's bizarre death wish.

Nancy Koeper of Chula Vista, California, had sued the 77-year-old tough-guy actor in February, after her late sister, Audrey Knauer of Louisville, Kentucky, willed Bronson her entire estate--valued at $300,000--and he actually accepted the money.

Trouble was, claims Koeper, her sister's 1996 "will" (scribbled on the back of a grocery list) was invalid because Knauer was mentally ill at the time. The document mandated that nothing--not "blood, body parts, financial assets"--go to the family. Instead, Malibu-residing Bronson should have it all, and what he didn't want should go to the Louisville Free Public Library, where Knauer went to read about Bronson.

Koeper claimed in her suit that a signed and witnessed will made by her sister in 1977, which gives everything to the family, should have been followed instead.

In any case, Bronson settled out of court with Koeper last week. It wasn't disclosed how much Bronson will pay the family. Calls to his Los Angeles agent were greeted with a " comment....good-bye...(click)"

As for why she bequeathed everything to the erstwhile Mr. Majestyk, Koeper said in an earlier interview that her sister saw Bronson "as this avenging person who was generous and kind, kind of a father figure."

Not seeing him as so generous and kind these days is the Louisville Free Public Library. According to reports, Bronson had offered the institution 10,000 bucks, but the library--perhaps hoping to gain greater assets out of the legal actions--declined.

As things shook out last week, the library now gets nothing.

Knauer died in 1997 at age 55.